Neil Parish MP
Councillor Jack Rowland, Mayor of Seaton, has posted on Facebook:
As many of you know I wanted to arrange a face to face meeting with Neil Parish and Jeremy Hunt regarding the CCG decision to close the hospital beds at Seaton Hospital.
I’ve now received a reply from Neil Parish and the email I sent to him and the reply is reproduced below.
Thank you for your email on beds at Honiton and Seaton.
I am deeply saddened by the decisions to close beds at Honiton and Seaton Hospitals. I wanted beds to be retained at Seaton and Honiton, as part of a wider upgrade to health services in Devon. This closure is not the outcome I wanted. I would like to pay tribute to all the staff who have worked so hard to maintain fantastic inpatient beds at the hospitals over the past years.
We now have to make the best of the current situation. The CCG have stated they believe there is sufficient at-home care to replace the current beds. Hospital staff will now be redeployed into community care. Every patient who previously required care in the hospitals must now have the same level of care delivered to them at home or in a residential care home. This promise must be kept and I will be monitoring the situation carefully.
Regarding the future of Honiton and Seaton Hospitals, I want the buildings to continue to host vital health and social care services. Particularly, I want the sites to be used as health and social care hubs, with a positive future for each of the locations. I believe the hospitals still have an important role to play in community healthcare services. Any suggestions you could provide in this area, which would help maintain viable services at Seaton, would be appreciated.
I know this might be a disappointing response, but I hope we can continue to maintain excellent care in our community.
Thank you again for your email.
Neil Parish MP
Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton
House of Commons | London | SW1A 0AA
Telephone: 020 7219 7172 | Email: email@example.com
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 16 August 2017 12:26
To: PARISH, Neil <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: email@example.com; Martin Shaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Marcus Hartnell <email@example.com>
Subject: Seaton Hospital – bed closures
Dear Mr Parish,
I’m writing to you in my capacity as the Chair of Seaton Town Council.
As you are no doubt aware the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee of Devon County Council voted by 7 votes to 6 on 25 July not to refer the CCG decision to the Health Secretary for a review. An investigation has been called for regarding how the Scrutiny Committee Chair managed that meeting.
In the meantime the RDE Trust are accelerating the bed closure timetable from the original timetable and the beds in Seaton Hospital are now being phased out starting on 21 August and those in Honiton the following week.
This is despite no adequate answers being given to date regarding the concerns about the “Your Future Care” changes now being implemented. At the East Devon District Council Annual meeting all the Councillors present voted in favour of requiring more information on this subject and the EDDC Scrutiny Committee met in June to question representatives of the CCG and were not satisfied with the responses and maintained their opposition to Community Hospital bed closures.
At the Seaton Town Council meeting on 7 August I tabled a motion to demonstrate concern at the decision reached by the DCC Scrutiny Committee and to seek an urgent meeting with yourself and Jeremy Hunt to be attended by myself, Marcus Hartnell (Town and EDDC District Councillor) and Martin Shaw (Town and DCC Councillor). All the Town Councillors present voted in favour of my motion.
In view of your stated opposition to the bed closures in Seaton and Honiton I hope you can facilitate the meeting I am requesting in view of the overwhelming opposition from the elected Councillors in East Devon.
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future regarding potential dates, times and venue – we would be willing to travel to London if necessary.
Seaton Town Council Chair / Mayor
The Royal College of Surgeons vice-president, consultant urological surgeon Ian Eardley, says that figures showing continuing over-occupancy of NHS hospital beds in England ‘suggest bed reductions have now gone too far in the absence of sufficient social care or community care alternatives.’
Exactly what we are all saying to NEW Devon CCG! Time to SUSPEND THE CONSULTATION AND GET ON WITH IMPROVING THE COMMUNITY CARE ALTERNATIVES.
The RCS leader added “We are now seeing increasing numbers of frail older patients in hospital because they have nowhere else to go. The lack of additional money in the autumn statement for social care and the NHS is only going to make this even harder.”
Neil Parish MP said he would press for additional resources – what will he do now that his Government has let him down?
On the heels of yesterday’s successful meeting with nearly 300 people in Seaton Town Hall (see right), Independent County Councillor Claire Wright has now linked to the CCG’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan from September which sets out the need for cuts, including, she says:
- 100s of more bed cuts to acute hospitals such as the RD&E.
- cuts to stroke, A&E, paediatrics, maternity, breast services, ENT, radiology, heart surgery and vascular surgery
Claire says, ‘It is more important than ever that our MPs back Sarah Wollaston and ask for more funding in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.’ This is the point that Seaton Town Council also identified and which I put to Neil Parish MP yesterday. Parish accepted the point and said he will work for ‘more resources’, collaborating with Wollaston.
In response to a question from Paul Arnott of Colyton, former Chair of East Devon Alliance, Parish indicated that he would be prepared to vote against the Government on the Autumn Statement (23 Nov.) if there was no more funding for the NHS in Devon. Watch this space!
A troubling thing from yesterday’s meeting – Parish specifically asked Rebecca Harriott, CCG Chief Officer, if more funding would mean the community beds cuts would be reviewed: she refused to give that assurance.
Dear Mr Parish,
Like most people in Seaton and the Axe Valley I am alarmed at the two options in the NEW Devon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s consultation on community hospitals which would remove all beds from Seaton Hospital. Therefore I am glad that you will be speaking at the public meeting in Seaton Town Hall on Friday 4th November to discuss these proposals.
I was surprised, however, that in the parliamentary debate on the NHS in Devon (18th October) you focused entirely on Honiton hospital and did not even mention Seaton. Certainly, the threat to Honiton is greater: it would lose all its beds under all 4 options consulted on, whereas under 2 options, including the one the CCG prefers, Seaton would keep its beds.
However there is a serious threat to Seaton. Your colleague Hugo Swire, MP for East Devon, says that if it is necessary to choose between the 4 options the CCG has put on the table, ‘option B, which sees the beds retained in Tiverton, and also in Sidmouth and Exmouth, is the option worthy of support’. This would mean Seaton losing its beds.
Against this false choice between Seaton and Sidmouth, you were absolutely right to say: ‘I really feel that all our MPs across the whole of Devon need to unite, because over the last two years the number of beds in our community hospitals has been halved. I rather fear that we will be standing here in two years’ time saying that they have been halved again. Rather than fighting between each other over which hospitals are kept open and which are closed, let us fight all the closures across Devon. Otherwise we are just being picked off one by one, Minister, and this is not the way to run a health service in Devon.’
However I put it to you that the only way we will not be forced to choose is if the Government finds more money for the NHS. The NEW Devon CCG’s deficit stands at £122 million and is careering towards £384 million by 2020. To offset this, the CCG’s ‘Success Regime’ – a strikingly Orwellian name – is desperately looking to cut costs, but all the ‘efficiency savings’ in the world will not deal with the problem.
Nursing costs for 16 beds in a community hospital are £914,000 per year. 24 beds may cost £1.32 million. Clearly even closing all community beds would still leave the CCG looking for huge savings elsewhere. A year ago I developed a hernia and was told the CCG policy was that I should try to live with it. The advice was rescinded and I had my operation, but I fear many people with ‘routine’ conditions will soon receive similar advice if the Government does not act.
NHS funding is a problem across Devon and the whole of England. The RD&E Trust and the Torbay and South Devon CCG are also in deficit. Nationally NHS bodies have combined deficits of £2.45 billion and rising. The Head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, told Parliament this week that the NHS has not been given the minimum funding it needs to meet its commitments in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Apparently the Prime Minister has told Mr Stevens the NHS must live with the allocated money and follow the example of the Home Office in making savings. Mr Stevens replied that ‘while crime had fallen in recent years, demand for NHS care had risen, was still growing and would continue upward. For example, demand for cancer care had risen 55% over the past five years.’ The Royal College of Physicians says, ‘demand increases by 4% every year but, in real terms, NHS funding will increase by only 0.2% per year to 2020.’ The independent Kings Fund agrees: ‘The principal cause of the deficit is the fact that funding has not kept pace with demand.’
Will you now recognise that we need a serious change in Government policy if every year we are not going to face further bed closures and other cuts? The majority of people in East Devon voted to leave the European Union, and many believed the claim (which Boris Johnson backed) that the NHS could gain an extra £350 million a week. It is now clear that leaving the EU will not produce this sort of money – but these Leave voters were absolutely right to think that the NHS needs a lot more.
When the new Chancellor announced he was dropping the target of ending the national deficit by 2020, many hoped there would be extra funding for the NHS in his Autumn Statement. The Prime Minister has now ruled this out. Yet there are many ways that money could be found: halt HS2, rule out a third runway for Heathrow, outlaw offshore trusts, make global corporations pay the right tax in the UK.
If, as you say, ‘all our MPs across the whole of Devon need to unite’, what are they going to unite for? Not, surely, just to criticise the Success Regime’s consultation document. The problem is bigger than the CCG. The only answer that makes sense is more Government funding.
A year ago, many of us were impressed when you defied the Government over tax credit cuts. The NHS crisis is an even bigger issue, which affects us all. We are relying on you, as our MP, to make clear publicly that the funding situation is not acceptable. Will you now take the lead in demanding that the Chancellor amends his spending plans to provide the NHS with adequate funds, and directs a large chunk to Devon?
As almost everyone in Seaton must now know, the NEW Devon (North, East and West Devon) Clinical Commissioning Group is currently consulting on which few beds should be retained in community hospitals. Although Seaton will keep 24 beds under Options A (the CCG’s preferred option) and C, under options B and D these beds will go to Sidmouth.
Indeed having removed the beds from Ottery St Mary and Axminster hospitals, the CCG now proposes to take all beds from Honiton and Okehampton, leaving only 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 in either Seaton or Sidmouth, and 16 in either Exmouth or Exeter (Whipton), to serve 900,000 people in most of Devon.
The Town Council has expressed its grave concern at the threat to Seaton Hospital and the wider removal of community beds. With Councillor Martin Pigott taking the lead, I and other councillors have met with representatives of the Hospital League of Friends and the GP practices (who have questionnaires available for you to express your views to the CCG). We will be organising a public meeting, probably on Friday 4th November, with Neil Parish MP – the CCG will be invited to send a representative.
The community hospitals are an essential half-way house, much valued by patients, between the acute beds in the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and care in the community. The whole point is to have them local. Taking their beds away will make only a small difference to the CCG’s ballooning deficit – the only thing that will really change it is for the Government to finally put in the extra funding which everyone knows the NHS needs. We need to link up with others in East Devon to make this a common battle.
At the 2015 election hustings in Seaton, MP Neil Parish enthusiastically supported holding the Brexit referendum.
When Cameron announced the vote, however, he was for Remain, although neither he nor the local Conservatives did much obvious campaigning.
After the vote, Parish backed Boris Johnson, the chief Leaver, for the Tory leadership.
When Michael Gove forced Johnson out, Parish plumped for another Leaver, Andrea Leadsom (the one who robotically repeated ‘We need to take control’ in the TV debates).
Does it even matter to Parish whether we’re in or out of the EU?